tofu (and pea) nuggets
This is a starter tofu recipe. I admit, as someone who has tofu once a week, that it is an acquired taste. The blandness and texture turns many meat eaters away with a face. But this recipe with it's thick breading is reminiscent of a fried cheese, and dipped in ketchup it reminds me of when I used to eat chicken nuggets.
The extra special part of these tofu nuggets, is that there are peas in the breading! Usually, I do not recommend using canned product over fresh, but here I do, and it is because the color of the canned peas do not stand out in the breading. Because of this, it's possible to sneak in a veggie with not even the pickiest of children knowing otherwise. The pea purée actually adds a creaminess to the tofu which tricks your mind even more into thinking you are eating fried cheese!
Important to remember when making these...
Buy extra firm tofu (we also prefer the sprouted variety).
The larger the cube, the blander the nuggets. If you think your family will not touch anything remotely tasting like tofu, start with half inch cubes the first time around.
Get that oil hot before you add your tofu into your pan. You want to hear a sizzle immediately, otherwise the breading will absorb all of the oil.
And don't overcrowd your pan. Fry in batches and give them room to breathe!
Also, with the pea batter and breadcrumbs left over, I form a patty (you may need to add breadcrumbs to make the right ratio) and fry that bad boy up as a treat for me for all my hard work! :)
1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 can sweet peas
1 egg (or flax egg)
1/8 cup water
2 cups italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/8 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (or nutritional yeast)
Oil for fryin (I use half coconut oil and half olive oil)
Salt and pepper
Drain the tofu and cut into small cubes. I slice the block lengthwise to cut the thickness in half, and then 4 cuts the long way and 8 cuts the short way. Salt and pepper both sides.
Next step is to add your oil to your frying pan. I add just enough oil to coat the bottom. Heat on medium while you are prepping the breading.
Drain the peas and pour until a bowl and add the water, egg and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a hand emulsifier, purée until smooth. Pour your breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese into another bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix all together.
Dip each cube in the pea batter, and then into the breadcrumbs and place in your frying pan. Test one first to make sure you hear a sizzle so you know that the oil is nice and hot. Fry for 4 minutes on each side (should be a nice golden brown color) and then remove from pan and let the nuggets drain for a minute on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce!